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Chapter 28: Beans from the Major are Bitter and Astringent
Second day of the battle.
No large scale conflict occurred like the day before. It ended with small skirmishes where only arrows were fired.
The war was a complete stalemate. Both armies fell into a situation where they couldn’t act. Both lines of battle glared at each other, and the sun idly set.
Then the Fourth Day.
Yalder’s Legion had arrived near Carnas Plateau. Receiving that information, Barbora gave the order to commence the recapture of Carnas.
As planned, Octavio instructed Schera and Konrad’s unit to drive into enemy lines. In tandem, Barbora and Borbon’s units gradually advanced their lines to attract the enemy.
The Liberation Army also deployed Fynn, Behrouz, and Altura’s main force.
This nightmare of a day would become the bloodiest day for the Liberation War.
Under the strong, blazing sun unthinkable for Spring, the battle began.
Yalder’s Legion took formation to the west side of Carnas Plateau. Yalder grimaced, seeing the firm encampment built on the Plateau.
“This won’t be good. They’ve built a tougher formation than estimated. This’ll be tough to break in a short amount of time–the enemy’s commander seems quite competent.”
“Your Excellency, this is not a situation to be admiring them. We must capture it in haste.”
Warned Sidamo, and Yalder decisively nodded saying that was obvious.
“I know that! Launch the signal flare! Inform the detached force on the other side to begin the assault-!”
Obeying Yalder’s orders, a soldier launched a signal fire. This was to signal Schera and the others who should have been deployed to the east.
The plan was to divide the enemy’s left wing and then pressure Carnas Plateau from both sides. Afterwards, they planned to gain control of it. The success of this plan hinged on matching their timing.
“Sidamo-! Advance the infantry! Target, the encampment on Carnas Plateau-! Coordinate the longbowmen and rain on them incessantly-! And break the enemy’s defensive position with catapults-!”
“Understood. Messenger, tell all the infantry to march. Have the engineers construct catapults and then go support them. Absolutely do not expose them. Advance while staying together-!”
After instructing the messenger, Sidamo studied Carnas Plateau. From the encampment on the high ground proudly fluttered the Liberation Army’s flag.
It seemed nearly all the garrison was deployed to face them. Which meant the their east side was short of hands. If they attacked there, that would absolutely turn the tides. They could not overlook this chance. It was his given duty as a staff officer to seize even a moment’s opportunity.
“Rouse yourselves everyone-! This fight will decide the Kingdom’s fate! We must win-!”
Encouraged Yalder, and the long serving soldiers that followed him from Antigua and Belta fervently cheered in response to their commander’s inspiration.
The training and morale of these soldiers that had gone through many hardships together were of a relatively high level in the Kingdom’s Army. There was no longer anyone here who would abandon the Kingdom.
—-Fighting erupted in the west of Carnas Plateau.
Borbon’s division had attracted the enemy’s right wing. Their leader Major General Borbon was an extremely passive and indecisive man, but this duty could rather be said to be perfect for him.
He hesitated at everything and took much time before making a decision.
“Your Excellency Borbon! Your orders!?”
“U, hmm. I received instructions from General Barbora to attract the enemy but. ……. Yeah, maybe we should attack? Or maybe defend. I didn’t learn about this you know. To stalemate the war front, we first—-”
“Wait, I’m thinking. I’m a man who’s made it to Major General. No matter the situation, I must move prudently. Losing here will create a situation we can’t recover from. If we don’t take the time… Let me think a bit more. In that one practice simulation, what did I do again…?”
Carefreely, Borbon tried to remember the contents of the simulation. His Staff Officer drew closer, losing his temper, but Borbon was not at all agitated.
“Your Excellency, we do not have such time! Battle has already started! You have to immediately give the soldiers instructions-!”
“Shut up! I’m thinking right now!“
“Should we attack…? Should we defend…”
Borbon didn’t know which was better. Should they assertively launch an attack? Or should they devote themselves to defense? He hesitated and hesitated, and couldn’t give instructions to his subordinates. Ironically, that turned out for the better.
Confronting them, Behrouz’s vanguard of the Liberation Army came for a resolute attack, but Borbon’s division didn’t go at them from the front, but evaded, slippery like an eel.
Borbon’s inability to make a decision ultimately became instructions for them to make the decisions on-site.
On the other hand, as Behrouz had long years of experience with commanding, his subordinates unconditionally abided by his instructions, believing that he would lead them to victory if they followed him
That dependence brought forth some delay in their movements, and they couldn’t catch up with the Kingdom’s Army arbitrarily moving, making decisions on-site and adapting themselves to the moment.
What the commander of the Kingdom’s front line prioritized above all was to not die. He would fight such that he wouldn’t violate military regulations, deal with it adequately, and then retreat. And then when he judged that there was an opening to take advantage of, he would adequately launch an attack, distinguishing himself.
Though their morale may be low, they were picked troops thoroughly trained by the now deceased Sharov. There were many excellent men among their noncommissioned officers.
Likely, had Borbon directly took command, they would’ve probably been quickly cornered and routed. That man had no experience fighting while leading a wing.
“Arrrghh, the enemy seems quite capable-! They pretend to attack and then withdraw, they withdraw and then attack. Avoid chasing too far, there’s likely troops in ambush-! Do not be pulled in-!”
Behrouz threw down the cane symbolizing his command and raged. They were an extremely difficult opponent to deal with. They skillfully warded off his momentum. It would be to the enemy’s plan to attack them if they chased too far like this.
“Your Excellency, how about ordering a general offensive? From what I can see, it is hard to say the enemy’s movements are deliberately commanded. Shall we apply some pressure and see what happens? Unexpectedly, they might readily collapse.”
A staff officer who held doubts about the leadership ability of the Kingdom’s commanders didn’t think those commanders could wield their command in such a way. He sensed that, likely, the on-scene noncommissioned officer was moving of his own accord. Of course, Behrouz understood that too. The enemy had no plan. From his long years of experience, he could tell that from intuition, but,
Behrouz shook his head sideways at his impatient staff officer’s proposal. While having an expression of regret.
“Our Tactician firmly forbids a general offensive-. Until his strategy is put into action, we must not launch a general offensive, he told me. Perhaps the enemy commander is a genius, or maybe an incomparable idiot. It would be impossible for me to do what he’s doing. Entrusting command to on-site judgement, if that goes poorly, the entire force will fall into chaos.”
Presently, Behrouz had to continue this clumsy battle since his main unit was ordered to not move.
The right wing had completely fallen into a stalemate. Likely, as the enemy had expected.
(Endure until the start of the operation-! This battle’s victory and defeat lies with Sir Tactician’s command. You have to win at all costs; I leave it to you, Sir Diener!)
—-Bertusburg Plains eastern front: stalemate.
“Divide the enemy’s left wing.”
Having received Octavio’s orders, Schera’s Cavalry and Konrad’s unit fiercely and resolutely attacked, cutting into the border between the plains and Carnas Plateau’s east.
The cavalry led by Schera cut a hole in the Liberation Army’s line, and plunged forward while rigorously coordinating with Konrad.
“Colonel, everything is as planned so far. I will send the signal to Major General Octavio!”
Katarina dismounted and began preparing to raise the signal fire.
“Alright, I leave the signal to you-! Someone, send contact to Konrad. Tell him to maintain his position until His Excellency Octavio arrives! Afterwards, we will invade Carnas Plateau-!!”
“Cavalry once merged with Konrad will fortify the line! Absolutely do not stop your movements! You’ll be sniped!! Move around and trample the enemy-!!”
Schera pointed her scythe and raised her voice. The morale of her cavalrymen raised in conjunction. A messenger began running to Konrad’s unit.
They had achieved their first aim of dividing the enemy, but that was just like temporarily splitting the seas.
If they didn’t immediately build a dam, the waters would once again swallow them. Around them, the Liberation Army began reorganizing their lines to surround them, and it was only a matter of time before their preparations were in order.
Schera’s Cavalry had risked their lives to open a small hole. The rush of Octavio’s division was essential for this operation’s success.
Schera’s Cavalry was 3,000, Konrad’s unit was 5,000, and Octavio’s division was 30,000. That was the total number of men invested into diving the enemy’s left wing. If all went successfully, Carnas Plateau would be taken back, and besides that, they could even aim for the enemy’s headquarters.
The orders given to them by the division commander Octavio were simple and clear. As soon as the signal flare came from Schera’s Cavalry, he would instantly give the order to charge.
For something as simple as that, even the weak-hearted Octavio could accomplish it, Barbora had judged.
“……Your Excellency Octavio, the signal flare has come from Schera’s unit.”
The Adjutant Guerard reported to Octavio while peering through a spyglass.
Octavio detestably smiled and replied,
“Kukuh-, the judgement of a novice commissioned officer who doesn’t know the art of war is unreliable. I decide when to move the division. It’s still early for the assault. It’s too early, don’t you think?”
“Sir-, it does appear that the occasion is premature. Too impatient for merit, Colonel Schera has erred in her judgement. I believe the judgement of the man polished through hundreds of battles, His Excellency Octavio, should take precedence.”
“Fumu, then let’s go with that. Contact all the units. Strictly order them not to move no matter what until my signal. They are not to move no matter what occurs. Transgressors will be charged with violating military regulations and will necessarily be given strict punishment, tell them that.”
“Understood. ……However, this is just as Your Excellency predicted. Your discerning eye leaves me in admiration.”
Flattered Guerard, and Octavio pleasantly laughed.
“It seems the the Star God is our ally too. If General Barbora is promoted to Field Marshal, I will also surely be promoted. The rebel army will be annihilated, and the nuisances will die here. There will be no one standing in my way. Of course, you’ll be following me too. I’m not a man who forgets loyalty.”
“Sir-, I will follow Your Excellency to the ends of the earth!”
“Well then, let’s watch together, the final moments of that little girl who doesn’t understand her place, the collapse of the famed ‘Death God’ of the rumors. Just how will she die? Kuhaha-! This is so pleasing!”
Taking out the spyglass on his waist, he gazed with a sneer at the place where Schera’s unit was fighting. The Liberation Army was hastily moving their lines to surround Schera and the others. The gap that they had gambled their lives to open was closing without any resistance.
(Stupid little girl. This is what you get for thinking to stand shoulder to shoulder with me. Kukuh-, cry, resent your own stupidity, and die-!)
—-Octavio’s division, didn’t move.
Without Octavio’s division supporting their rear, Schera and Konrad’s units had been completely isolated. In not even an hour, they were entirely surrounded, and like drawstrings being pulled tight, they started being pressured by the Liberation Army. Katarina had sent up signal flares many times, but Octavio showed no signs of moving. They only watched them from far away.
“Why, why won’t they move-!? At this rate, the opportunity we created will—-”
Katarina threw down the fuming cylinder emptied of its flare. Schera calmed her while bitterly smiling.
“We were abandoned by that trash Octavio. It’s so refreshingly easy to understand.”
“But why-!? If they don’t rush in right now, this operation will be a complete failure-!”
“For that garbage, I’m probably more of a hindrance and of an eyesore than the rebel army. And so, he would throw away victory, and he would choose to let 8,000 soldiers die. Isn’t that it?”
Slowly rocking the scythe on her shoulder, Schera informed Katarina.
All while gently brushing the body of her new horse that she wasn’t used to riding yet.
As soon as she made it back, she would kill Octavio.
Absolutely, kill. Schera etched that onto her heart.
“N, no way.”
While touching her glasses with trembling hands, Katarina stood in mute amazement. This kind of unreasonable thinking, letting their chance of winning slip from right under them, was absurd. Why did such a fool have the position of a division commander? It was entirely incomprehensible.
Nevertheless, the reality was as Schera stated. Octavio’s division would not move.
“……Colonel. At this rate, we will be annihilated without accomplishing anything. We ought to leave behind one unit to buy time, and, the other will invade Carnas Plateau, as per the strategy. Yalder’s Legion is, even now, conducting an offensive. We have to back him from our side.”
Sweat-smeared and dust-covered Konrad, out of breath, proposed to Schera.
His infantry in a square formation was eagerly taking up bow and arrow and lunging with spears, not letting the enemy approach.
The cavalrymen, who must not stop moving, were tracing a circle while battling with the enemy. But even so, they were at their limits. The enemy’s forces were growing denser.
Soon, their dam would break. The numbers were too different.
“S, still, we’re not in a position to go support, and if we do that means—-”
Katarina voiced her doubts. Konrad’s proposal would end up sacrificing a unit.
“Of course, they need to be ready to be annihilated. Actually, they would certainly die. But, if, we take back Carnas Plateau, this battle is still up in the air. If, we can’t take back the plateau here, and we are annihilated, this battle is lost. So, we must launch an offensive, no matter the cost.”
“Well then, I and my cavalry will stay. To the east of here is seen the flag of the rebel army’s Supreme Commander. Probably, Altura is there I think. If we kill her, this battle will be over won’t you say? We’ll act as the diversion, and kill the chief of the dogs while we’re at it.”
Schera pointed at the company lined in the distance. On the Liberation Army’s flag was drawn the crest of the royal family. It was Altura’s flag.
Still, struggling over there, no matter how one theorized, was impossible. They would have to break through many lines of battle stretched around that destination, and then further crush the defensive encampment. If one considered that enemies would come in support from all four sides, it was as impossible as overturning heaven and earth.
No matter how hard Schera fought, she couldn’t defend against a rain of arrows. Even if Schera could defend, her horse couldn’t. Once she lost her legs, she would be surrounded by infantry and eventually killed. Konrad shook his head sideways and objected to Shera’s opinion.
“Colonel, with your cavalry, you can break through this encirclement and attack Carnas Plateau. Also, my infantry, I’m afraid to say, do not have any mobility. Let us remain behind.”
“Major Konrad. Rank is absolute in an army. Didn’t you say that the other day? A superior officer’s order is absolute. That’s what it means to be an army. Abide by my orders. Your unit will immediately commence an assault on Carnas Plateau.”
Schera knocked down a flying arrow, and ordered. She took out a sickle from her waist and threw it at a man commanding the archers in the distance. The sickle stuck into the breastplate of his armor, and her target stopped breathing. The archers of the Liberation Army were unnerved, and they momentarily stopped their attacks.
Judging there was no more conversation, Schera decided to give the order to assault Altura’s encampment.
Konrad let out a deep sigh, and took out a certain thing. This method would be faster than talking to this woman.
“……You haven’t changed at all since Belta huh, Colonel Schera. Even on the verge of death you can be so aloof from the world.”
“This way of talking suits you more than awkward formalities. Also, if you understand, hurry and go for me? We’ll go take the head of the rebels now. There’s no time for idle chatter.”
Konrad pulled on the reins Schera was holding, and took out two large beans. There was one roasted bean with an x mark on it.
Roasted beans, a product of Belta that Schera had coveted before battles.
“……We’ll decide it with this. Like how we did it at Belta. The one with the mark is the winner. The winner will advance toward Carnas, and the other will remain here and buy time. Okay?”
“……I want to say I refuse, but you wouldn’t accept that would you?”
Asked Schera with an amazed expression. Konrad nodded.
“That’s correct. Listen to the opinions of your seniors.”
“……Fine. Let’s hurry up and do this. There’s really no more time.”
Konrad mixed them in his hands, and held a bean in his left and right. Schera chose the left.
When his large hand with clots of blood stuck to it opened, there appeared the bean with the x mark on it.
“……Your luck is good, Colonel Schera. As agreed, you are the winner. The Colonel will go to Carnas Plateau. …….Leave the rest to me.”
Konrad threw the bean with the mark to Schera, and hid the other.
“Show me your right hand. Open your right hand and show me, Major.”
Not abiding by Schera’s words, Konrad threw the bean gripped in his right hand into his mouth and exaggeratedly chewed.
“There is no time, Colonel. As quickly as possible, head to Carnas Plateau!”
Shouted Konrad, and Schera silently turned her horse’s head. A promise was a promise. She was the winner, and Konrad was the other. That was it.
“……Katarina-, have the cavalry form ranks!! We will charge towards Carnas Plateau-!!”
“Konrad, I leave the rest to you. Let us, meet again.”
“Please leave it to me-!! Someday, once again!”
Konrad split his unit into three, and he made one go northward as a decoy and another one advance with the aim of enemy Supreme Commander Altura’s encampment. The last one would support Schera’s assault until their end. None of them could hope to return alive.
The enemy had to protect Altura while preventing their withdrawal and further obstruct Schera’s charge. The line of battle should be greatly disordered.
Konrad would participate in the assault at Altura’s camp. He had decided to wield his spear until his life died out.
Schera reorganized the cavalry, and commenced the assault towards Carnas. Konrad’s infantry cut into the enemy line to cover for them. The exhausted soldiers died one after the other, but Schera’s Cavalry was steadily advancing.
Konrad took one last look at Death, and strongly burned the sight into his eyes.
Despite being a little girl, she was a brave woman like from a fairy-tale. Yet even so, she had a gluttonous disposition, as well as behaviors and expressions unbefitting of a hero. Konrad couldn’t hold back a sarcastic laugh.
A senior staff officer standing next to him spoke.
“Major, I have brought something nice, do we have permission to raise it? You will also be quite pleased with it, Major.”
“……What is it?”
What the senior staff officer took out was, the flag of the ruined Fourth Army. It had the now deceased David’s coat of arms on it.
“I permit it. Hmph, you’re a fine hoarder.”
“I didn’t really like General David that much, but you’ve taken good care of us, Major. It has been an honor, coming this far together with you.”
The surrounding soldiers looked at Konrad fleetingly, and nodded in agreement. Then, they pointed their spread towards Altura’s camp in the distance.
Everyone had resolved themselves.
“……Sorry. I’ll have you accompany me until the end.”
“Fourth Army of the Yuze Kingdom, Belta Infantry Battalion, will begin the assault-!! Show them our mettle-!! Take Altura’s head, the leader of the rebel army-!! Forward-!”
The Fourth Army’s flag fluttered grandly. Konrad held his spear aloft and began running, acting as the vanguard.
The soldiers followed after him. Everyone was tired, and their breathing was erratic. A hail of arrows created many corpses.
Regardless, they charged into the enemy’s line while shouting angrily and showing no fear.
“LONG LIVE THE FOURTH ARMY! LONG LIVE KONRAD’S BATTALION!!”
“LONG LIVE THE YUZE KINGDOM-!!”
“Here we go-!!”
Konrad’s spear pierced a Liberation Army soldier’s throat. He immediately pulled it out and mowed down the body of a flustered young soldier.
“The guys from the Kingdom are coming-! Get ready-!”
“Don’t these guys, fear death-!?”
“Don’t let them break through! Ahead of them is Princess Altura’s camp!”
“The enemy has split into three directions-! Y, your orders to pursue-!!”
“The enemy’s a small force; what’s there to be scared about-! Can’t you calm down!!”
The Kingdom’s Army charged until their ends, unafraid of death, and threw the Liberation Army surrounding them into chaos. The enemy forces had split into three directions–who and how would they pursue?
The commander’s instructions were slow, since at this rate, it was certain their encirclement could be crushed. Just by his wavering, the number of victims increased.
Konrad’s unit fought heroically. They broke through the line at three sites, and they used up all their strength struggling to the defensive encampment.
In front of Konrad who wielded his spear all alone with wounds all over his body appeared the Liberation Army’s second in command, Alan. He thought it strange that he was forced to kill a soldier.
“A commander with much renown I suppose. I am the Liberation Army’s Vice Commander, Alan Keyland. I would like to have a bout with you.”
“……Major Konrad of the Kingdom’s Army! Here I come-!!”
Sword and spear struck each other. Alan made the best of his sword’s lightness and unleashed a flurry of blows. Konrad awaited his chance while blocking them with his spear. He made Alan overextend, and immediately afterwards brushed away the blade with Alan’s weight behind it.
Konrad’s thrust grazed Alan’s cheek. Alan flinched for an instant at the extreme sharpness of that spear thrust. Seeing this opportunity, Konrad went to unleash another one, but he collapsed to his knees the moment he did so. His stamina, had been exhausted.
Alan’s longsword was swung down from above.
“……D, David… Your Excellency, I… apo…logi…ze. Colonel, the rest—-”
Konrad fell forward. After Alan decapitated Konrad, he ordered for him to be courteously buried. He had been a magnificently brave warrior, rare in the Kingdom’s Army.
Konrad was killed, the isolated soldiers were dying like following after him. The diversion unit that headed to the north was similarly annihilated. The unit that supported Schera, when they exhausted their arrows, charged in, and were extinguished one by one.
Riding parallel beside Schera, Katarina turned and looked behind her for a second. Konrad’s unit was swallowed by the masses, and she confirmed their annihilation with her eyes.
At the same time, corpses planted behind them exploded, throwing up a smokescreen.
“Colonel, Konrad’s unit was annihilated.”
“……That so, unfortunate. But, we’ll surely be able to meet sooner or later.”
While swinging her scythe with one hand, Schera took out the bean Konrad had duped her with and put it in her mouth.
It was very bitter… and astringent. Schera’s face scrunched up. Thanks to the blood that had been on his hands, it also tasted of iron.
“Nothing, it was just a bit bitter.”
From behind them, enemy cavalry came in pursuit. The speed of Schera’s Cavalry, advancing while crushing the enemy in front of them, was helplessly slow. Katarina sent a signal with her gaze to one rider, such that Schera wouldn’t notice at all. She didn’t need to know.
“Fight until you die, and buy time”. This was the order Katarina had conveyed to them beforehand. In the end, she too intended to hold her ground and fight to the death.
300 soldiers farthest in the back silently turned around and began charging at the enemy pursuit force. They were like sacrificed pieces. So that their superior officer could advance forward, they were to buy time.
Katarina judged that they wouldn’t be able to make it if she didn’t prepare sacrifices, no matter how much skill Schera had.
Glaring at Carnas Plateau, Schera didn’t notice. Also in a way that she didn’t notice, Katarina and the others advanced while surrounding Schera.
“So this side really is lacking in men. The enemy garrison has sent their main force at Yalder’s Legion. We’ll go and raid the enemy encampment. We cannot waste the valuable time Major Konrad has created for us.”
“Indeed. As planned, we will capture Carnas Plateau. I will absolutely do so.”
Schera and 2,000 riders forcibly tore through the sporadic resistance while determinedly rushing up the high ground. Yalder was making a fierce attack from the west. Carnas Plateau had unexpectedly been pincered according to plan. Of course, it could also be said that Schera’s Cavalry was being pincered too.
How long could the 300 riders prevent that? A hopeless struggle to the death began.
The cavalry holding their ground to hinder the pursuit were loyally carrying out their duty.
“We are Schera’s Cavalry.”
“You shall not pass.”
“Long Live Colonel Schera. Victory for the Colonel.”
Schera’s Cavalry swung their spears, shaking off fresh blood. Many arrows stabbed into their armor, and there was also someone who had one stuck in the middle of his face.
Yet even so, the cavalry didn’t lose their will to fight, and continued to be an obstacle half way up Carnas Plateau. They had earned more than thirty minutes. They were approaching the limits of their endurance, but for their Lord, they kept on wielding their spears until their deaths.
—-200 riders remained.
“……D, don’t be scared-! The enemy is wounded! Spearmen, advance-!!”
“B, but-! They’re, monsters-! They shouldn’t be able to move!”
“Silence-, this is an order! Advance-!!”
Receiving orders from a Liberation Army commanding officer, a spearman unit comprised of 500 men timidly sallied forth.
Seeing that from behind, Vander encouraged them, presenting a certain premium.
He had received orders from Tactician Diener and had come to this place leading a unit.
“Those who kill that cavalry will be awarded one gold coin per head! Everyone liven up-!!
“O-One gold coin-!?”
“Yes! Authorized by Tactician Diener! For the Liberation Army’s victory, forward-!”
The eyes of the soldiers changed. If they had one gold coin, they could live a life of luxury for months. Although the enemy soldiers were strong, they were already on the verge of death. They could crush them if they all went at once.
Vander raised his right fist and had the soldiers under his command wait on alert. They were equipped with mechanical bows, crossbows.
Crossbows were a weapon that anyone could regularly earn results with. It took time to reload them, but their power was guaranteed.
In a way unnoticed by the spearmen unit, they formed file and notched their arrows.
“Spearmen, charge-!! Kill the enemy!!”
500 men under the infantry commanding officer commenced the assault. Undaunted, the cavalrymen of Schera’s unit flourished their weapons, spreading death.
It instantly became a melee, but the spearmen that had the advantage in numbers were completely pushed back. These cavalrymen, who had given themselves up for dead and in a sense had become Death’s soldiers*, were not afraid of being injured. Their fighting spirit was incomparably different from the soldiers of the Liberation Army who had attachment towards life.
“S-save me-! I knew this was impossible!!”
“Vict0ry for Colonel Schera-!!”
A rider pierced the head of the soldier seeking aid with a lance held in reverse grip. A spear from the side stabbed into the rider’s abdomen, and he coughed up blood. He snapped the spear, and while toppling, gouged out the face of the paled man with its tip. The infantry lost his life, and the rider was still living.
Seeing this state of affairs, Vander executed the one order he had been given from Diener while shuddering inwardly.
“No matter how many sacrifices must be spent, kill the Death God and her cavalry.”
He lowered his right hand, and the crossbowmen fired their arrows. The arrows pierced into not just the cavalry, but also their own allied infantry.
“C, Captain-! What are you doing! Are you sane-!?”
Angrily shouted another infantry commanding officer encircling the cavalry. Firing arrows that would friendly-fire their allies was not a sane command.
“Silence. Those guys cannot be killed if we don’t do this. In that case, these are unavoidable sacrifices. They will throw away their lives and be pierced with Death’s cavalry. —-Next, Fire-!!”
The second volley was fired. The cavalry and spearmen were mutually pierced and died.
“W-what you’re saying doesn’t make sense! Stop this for now-!”
“First Lieutenant. This is a battlefield. This is a plan to keep sacrifices to a minimum. Don’t you understand?”
With an aggravated look on his face, Vander admonished the First Lieutenant still young in years
“—-B-but, it is not right to friendly-fire allies! They are our allies right!?”
“Those guys are Death’s cavalry who will simply deflect our arrows. So live decoys are necessary to stop them. They are charging of their own free will, brave and steadfast for the Liberation Army’s great cause. I can only respect their determination. There’s no problem, wouldn’t you say?”
“Because you were the one who lured them with money!!”
“Do you curse their deaths? Our men are fighting for Justice. There shouldn’t be anyone among our comrades in the Liberation Army who works for money. Their deaths are something to proudly boast of.”
“End them. Leave not one of them alive. Give them rest. They can’t be saved anyway.”
Vander snapped his fingers, and a third volley was done. There was not a single man moving after that attack. The soldiers of Schera’s Cavalry on the verge of death were finished off by the soldiers surrounding them. The arrows had been coated in poison. No matter how much fighting spirit they had, it was meaningless if their bodies couldn’t move.
This was the weapon prepared to reliably kill Death’s soldiers.
“This, this is wrong-!”
The young First Lieutenant threw down his sword. The soldiers under his command tried to pacify him, but he indignantly shook them off.
“…………First Lieutenant. Watch your words. Any further rash remarks will be taken as violation of army regulations. I will overlook it this once. Think well before you speak from now on.”
“—-tsk. I will begin the pursuit now! Excuse me-!”
With a strained face, the young First Lieutenant returned to his unit.
Vander saw his former self in that man’s image.
(……This is for justice. I’m not mistaken. I’m different from those guys who kill children. I am fighting for the people so. So, I’m not wrong. Right, I’m not wrong. I should be right.)
Repeated Vander in his heart, and he clenched his fist. Before him were strewn the corpses of his former comrades, and the corpses of his current comrades. He was in the right. If he didn’t believe so, he wouldn’t make it out of the battlefield. Therefore, he wasn’t wrong.
“I, am not wrong-!”
Groaned Vander, running up the high ground while gazing at the cavalry raising that cursed, black flag.
He had one more duty. The messenger carrying a certain directive had probably already reached the Plateau’s garrion.
—-Kingdom’s Army, Barbora’s headquarters.
“Send a messenger to Octavio-. Order him to immediately advance-!”
Barbora turbulently kicked his desk and ordered a messenger.
He had received reports that Schera and Konrad had already attacked and successfully divided the enemy. He was furiously angered at why Octavio hadn’t began the assault according to plan. They would be setback at this rate. No, they were probably already too late.
“If he resists, have the military police restrain him!! Can that man not even march his troops-!!?”
The messenger hastily ran, and Major General Larus next to Barbora observed the state of the battle using a spyglass. The opening that Colonel Schera had created, risking her life in a charge, was already filled. The surrounded soldiers that had charged in had a high possibility of being annihilated. They would die in vain.
This was around the time Yalder’s Legion would be climbing Carnas from the west. They couldn’t change the operation now. Due to Octavio’s foolish decision, the danger of being defeated drew near for the Kingdom’s Army. They had divided their large army to take back the Plateau. If that came to naught, the pace of this battle would lean towards the enemy,
“Shit-!! They’re useless, every last one of them-!! Why can’t they just take command-!? What the heck have they been learning while rising to a general those retards-!!? Octavio, this won’t end with just a warning-!!”
Barbora’s angry voice resounded emptily. Larus headed back to his own unit in silence without answering Barbora. He knew that Barbora didn’t have the capacity for leadership. How would this have ended if Sharov were here? While remembering his now-deceased superior officer, Larus deeply sighed.
(It still isn’t decided who the victor and loser will be. It’ll be difficult, but we have to recover somehow. No matter how completely rotten it is, this is the country His Excellency Sharov had decided to protect. I must repay the favors I’ve received from His Excellency, even at the cost of my life.)
Having received Barbora’s urgent demand, Octavio’s division finally decided to move out. The horns trumpeted sonorously while they exultantly pushed forward to the line of battle. The units in front of them were awfully exhausted after doing battle with Schera and Konrad. Octavio was convinced that if they were rushed by his large army from the front, they would certainly be broken through.
“Kill the foes of Schera and Konrad’s unit who had fought hard in vain and were annihilated! Oh brave warriors of the glorious First Army, advance forwards-! Don’t fall behind! Relentlessly trample them!! If you want achievements, they’re yours for the taking-! All units, charge!”
While spitting out shameless words, Octavio raised his sword. Clad in gorgeous armor without a flaw, he had a triumphant smile on his face. In this man’s mind, he had already won.
High Ground Encampment Built on Carnas Plateau.
Ghamzeh’s division of the Liberation Army was being forced into a unsparing fight. The aggression of the Kingdom’s Army making an onslaught from the west was severe, and the 20,000 soldiers given to him were split in half for defense.
Precisely because it was a Plateau, its terrain was rugged, and it took time to rearrange the units.
He had been told by a messenger that the enemy unit assault unit to the east was completely surrounded at the foot of the Plateau, and that their annihilation was only a matter of time. Having no more pressure from the east, Ghamzeh had decided to meet Yalder’s Legion, who was making a suicidal attack, with all of his forces.
He was enthusiastic about letting them taste a charge from the high ground.
“Face the enemy soldiers, and descend upon them-! Messenger, order the entire garrison to take the momentum and charge from the high ground-! Distinguish yourself as much as you want-! Our numbers are the same, and we have the advantage in morale and terrain; we cannot lose-!”
“We’ll get our revenge for the humiliation at Golbahar Ridge-! All units get to it-!”
(If we distinguish ourselves here, the Belta faction will be no more. We must annihilate the enemy division no matter what. It’s not at all enough to just defend a high ground. Like I’ll go along with Diener’s whims-!)
Having finished organizing, the garrison at the worst possible time launched a general offensive at Yalder’s Legion attacking them, when,
“Y, Your Excellency Ghamzeh!! E, enemy raid!”
“Calm down-! The division to the west is the only enemy! Seize all of them-!”
“T, that’s not it-! Enemy cavalry are flooding from the east of Carnas with unstoppable pace-!! B-Black flag with a white crow coat of arms! It’s Death! Death God Schera is here!!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Aren’t those guys completely surrounded at the foot of the Plateau-!? Have you lost your—-”
An explosion blasted apart the defensive encampment as the enemy cavalry appeared. Running ahead of them was Death painted with blood. A corpse dangling from the tip of her scythe, she dashed towards him.
Death threw the corpse like a sandbag, and pillars of flame erupted along with the shock of an explosion. His soldiers writhed as they lost their lives. The cavalrymen behind her spread out and trampled the guards who had fallen into a state of panic.
Ghamzeh doubted his own eyes.
(S-strange. Though I shifted the soldiers in the east, how could they have been broken through so easily!? I should have kept 5,000 guards there-!)
A misgiving flitted through the back of Ghamzeh’s mind.
(……Wait. There was a report that one of Diener’s subordinates was moving around the Plateau for some reason earlier. ……Don’t tell me, this was Diener’s—-)
Fresh, warm blood splattered on Ghamzeh’s face, engrossed in his thoughts. When he suddenly snapped out of it, before his eyes was Death.
All of Ghamzeh’s bodyguards had already been killed. In such mere short amount of time, a hideously cold-blooded spectacle had played out on the high ground encampment.
“You’re surprisingly lax to be looking elsewhere in the middle of a battlefield. Well then, hurry up and die.”
That evil blade was swung downward at him, and tore Ghamzeh’s upper body. As he had reflexively lurched back, he had avoided receiving a fatal wound, but it was now impossible for him to avoid the next blow.
While looking at his scattering, red blood like it had nothing to do with him, Ghamzeh was convinced of his own death. And, he understood why he would probably die.
—-He had been tricked by Diener. No matter how great she was, he didn’t think she could break through 5,000 deployed in the east in such a short amount of time. No matter how strong she was, they should’ve at least been able to stall for time. —-But, here Death was.
Right, there were no guards. That man, had given Death a helping hand. Or rather, he ought to say that Diener had used Death’s scythe.
This Carnas Plateau, was a gallow prepared for him. This was an execution for Ghamzeh, who would obviously become Diener’s political opponent after the war. And the executioner, was the female officer in front of him.
Ghamzeh somehow unsheathed his sword with his slightly trembling hands.
(……Diener. I wish I could kill you directly. I’ll be waiting for you in Hell-!)
The moment he tightened his grip on the sword, the crooked blade wailing in malice took off his head.
Having taken control of the high ground, Schera dismounted and picked up Ghamzeh’s reaped head. His head had a resentful look on it.
“……Give us a shout of victory. With everything you have, so Yalder’s Legion can hear. Convey to everyone that Carnas Plateau has fallen, that we’ve the enemy general’s head, and that the operation, has gone properly.”
She threw the head to Katarina and have her instructions.
“—-Sir-, please leave it to me-!!”
Schera noncommittally scattered roasted beans that she had gotten from Konrad on the red-stained earth. She wasn’t thinking of anything in particular. It’s just, she felt like she should do this. She closed the pouch and retied it to her waist. One mustn’t waste food.
Katarina installed the flag of Schera’s Cavalry on the Plateau’s encampment. Then, she raised the enemy general’s head and yelled.
“Schera’s Cavalry has taken out Carnas Plateau!! Victory is ours!! Long live Colonel Schera-!!”
“Hail Colonel Schera!”
“Long live Schera’s Cavalry-!!”
The cavalry members triumphantly waved their battleflags. Though they had been abandoned, they had under Schera captured Carnas Plateau.
While looking down at Octavio’s division, the soldiers of Schera’s cavalry forever raised their weapons to the sky and shouted in victory.
War cries resonated across the corpse riddled Plateau. The Liberation Army to the west of Carnas, shaken by the captured Plateau, began being routed all at once. Yalder crushed them as he ascended the high ground and successfully merged with Schera. Carnas Plateau had completely fallen under the influence of the Kingdom’s Army.
—-Liberation Army Camp, Diener’s Pavilion.
“Sir Diener. Carnas Plateau has fallen, and Ghamzeh has died in battle. The Death God is shouting in victory at Carnas.”
“I see. As arranged, bring the special duty oxcart unit to the front. Wait for the signal.”
Having received that report from his spies, Diener glared at Carnas Plateau with a cold, penetrating gaze. A black flag was fluttering on the high ground.
(Mostly according to plan. I’ve gotten Ghamzeh who would probably become an obstacle later on to die, and I’ve chased Death away to the high ground. My calculations were slightly off since the Kingdom’s Army was much too incompetent, but that’s not a problem at all.)
“Enemy division is approaching from the front!”
“Do not make any movement. Tell everyone to pull them in as far as they can. Also have the archers on standby. Until I give my instructions, you must not move. Those out of line will be strictly punished.”
After the surrounding soldiers left, Diener stabbed a knife into one point on the map that was on the table. The sharp blade pierced where Royal Capital Blanca was.
(……At last. Now just remains my signal. With just that, this war will be put to an end. Everything is in the palm of my hands.)
“Let’s fully witness the Kingdom’s end. Kukuh-”
He stifled the laugher that almost leaked out, and he headed to the front lines after tearing the map with the knife. The state of the Kingdom’s Army as it was brutally annihilated, the soldiers of the Kingdom’s Army that would die screaming in anguish, this comedy of unsurpassed laughter that would soon unfold, he needed to watch this from a special, front-row seat.
This was his retribution to they who had raised him, used him, and then thrown him away. He wouldn’t let it end just yet. Prime Minister Farzam and King Kristoff–until he sent them to hell, his revenge wasn’t over. He would never let it end.
With restraints installed on their heads, a unit of Colonge cattle attached to wagons were released, in a way that only the lines of the Kingdom’s Army lay in their field of vision.
They breathed wildly through their noses, and they would begin intimidation and showing aggression towards the foes, but they couldn’t move their heads in the ways they wanted. Their fury seemed to be rising. The color of their eyes changed to an aggressive red.
“The special duty sorcerer’s deployment is finished.”
“Whenever you are ready; on your mark!”
“Special duty oxcart unit, commence the assault on the First Army.”
Diener plainly gave the order. The soldiers moved behind the oxen and took up their torture weapon: a curved short spear with a turn.**
“Oxcart unit commence the assault-!”
“Commencing the assault-! Target, enemy foremost line, the infantry line!”
“Alright-, get ‘em-!”
The soldiers stabbed the rears of the oxen with their spears, twisted, and gouged into them. They bellowed almost deafeningly, and the Cologne cattle began charging. An appropriate word to describe their stampede was ’headlong.’ Only the Kingdom’s Army in front of the beasts entered their eyes. While pulling the carts loaded with gunpowder and sorcery mines, the herd of Cologne cows plunged forward. Forgetting themselves at the sharp pain, the Cologne cattle thought only to charge forwards, and forwards. They did not falter even when hit by arrows.
“Here they come! First line, raise the shields-! As long as we can stop the first charge, there’s nothing to fear-! Archers, shoot them down as best you can-!”
“Brace shields-!! Don’t break the line-!!”
The Kingdom’s line went to stop them. Since they had gotten intelligence beforehand that the Liberation Army would probably be using cattle, they entered defensive postures with shields set.
So that not even a bug could squeeze through, the soldiers huddled their bodies, lowered their waists, and braced their legs to stop the cattles’ rush.
—-The instant the oxcarts with momentum behind them brushed with the large shields braced by the soldiers, the sounds of chain explosions boomed on the battlefield
*死兵 This word again, as seen in chapter 17 and 23. Literally Death Soldier, meaning someone who is prepared to die in battle. Think of it like ‘martyr.’ Pretty sure the author is making wordplay, but it sounds so corny when I contextualize it.
**I have no idea what this is supposed to be.
Oh, my!.. Somehow, I’ve seen these exploding cows coming.
I see ONE DEAD GENERAL